Poll Panel Disqualifies Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra Over Alleged Corruption

Poll Panel Disqualifies Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra Over Alleged Corruption
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The Election Commission had questioned Narottam Mishra about the allegations last year.
NEW DELHI:  Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra today has been disqualified by the Election Commission of India over alleged corrupt practices and paid news during 2008 assembly polls in the state. Mr Mishra has been barred from contesting elections for three years. The assembly polls are likely to be held in December 2018.

Considered as number two in the state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Mr Mishra is Water Resources and Legislative Affairs minister and also holds charge of the Public Relations Department. "I didn't give any money to the media. There is no evidence. My lawyer is studying the order. Will move High Court (if need be)," he said.

The opposition parties have demanded his resignation, but BJP chief spokesman Deepak Vijaywargiya said the party will go through the EC order and will comment only after that.

The decision came based on a complaint by former Congress MLA Rajendra Bharti in April 2009 alleging Mr Mishra hadn't filed certain details in his election expenditure during the 2008 assembly elections. The ECI had issued a notice in January 2013 seeking his response.

Mr Mishra then challenged the notice in the high court bench at Gwalior and managed to get a stay in light of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's case proceeding in the top court. The court, however, vacated the stay order after considering the facts submitted by complainant's counsel. 

Mr Mishra approached the Supreme Court to stall the EC proceedings but the top court did not grant him any relief.

Last year, the poll panel questioned Mr Mishra in Delhi about the allegations. It found that he hadn't revealed his expenditure on paid news.

The EC has the power to disqualify a candidate if he fails to submit the account of expenses within time. In this case, the money spent on paid news wasn't shown in the account.
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